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Tom Robinson, first Black administrator of CHSAA, has died

Robinson announced in December that he would retire from CHSAA at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

DENVER — Tom Robinson, one of the most influential figures in Colorado high school sports history, has died at age 76.

The Colorado High School Activities Association said Robinson passed away Monday "following a short battle with multiple diagnoses." 

Robinson was the first Black administrator in the history of CHSAA. He was a graduate of Regis Jesuit and played football, basketball and track and field at CSU.

He taught math and coached multiple sports at Regis for 31 years before becoming a CHSAA assistant commissioner in 2001.

"We join the Denver and Colorado high school sports communities today in mourning the loss of Tom Robinson," Gov. Jared Polis and Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera said in a statement Tuesday.

"Tom was not only the first Black administrator in the history of the Colorado High School Activities Association, but he was also an exceptionally talented athlete, teacher, coach, husband, father and grandfather. Through his own skill and dedicated mentorship, Tom inspired and supported generations of Colorado students and athletes. We will remember Tom as a wonderful leader and friend, and send our thoughts to his loved ones, especially his wife, Cleo Parker Robinson, and son, Malik Robinson.” 

For 20 years at CHSAA, Robinson oversaw officials, the sportsmanship program and boys and girls golf. He was also the president of the National Association of Sports Officials and the replay coordinator for the Big 12 Conference. 

Robinson announced in December that he would retire from his position as CHSAA associate commissioner at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

Credit: Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com
Tom Robinson

“Beyond the impact Tom has made in this Association, our state and nationally over the course of his 30-plus year career as a coach, teacher, administrator, white hat referee, Hall of Famer, Big 12 replay expert, husband, father and grandfather, we are all better people for having had Tom in our lives,” CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said in a statement Monday

“Tom was an inspiration in so many ways,” CHSAA assistant commissioner Bethany Brookens said in a statement. “He taught me how to play golf, he and Cleo taught us all how to have a wonderful and successful marriage, he taught me the officials mechanics for basketball and he gave me loyal friendship and a respect for all people. An incredible, ethical, good man and mentor; I miss Tom greatly already.”

Robinson is survived by his wife of 51 years, the well-known choreographer Cleo Parker Robinson, and his son Malik Robinson, executive director of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance.

Credit: Jerry Metellus; Provided by Cleo Parker Robinson Dance
Tom Robinson and Cleo Parker Robinson

"Tom has been the love of my life for over 60 years," Cleo Parker Robinson said in a statement Tuesday. "The journey he and I have shared for over 50 years was destined to be. We were devoted to one another in all things, to our family, our dreams, and our community. We always knew the other was close at hand in absolute love. I will carry his light in my heart forever.” 

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